Sheriff’s office: two businesses busted for selling ‘fake weed’

Published 4:37 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force served search warrants Feb. 3 on two local businesses suspected of selling salvia divinorum, commonly known as “serenity” or “fake weed.”

Officers searched Mark’s Quick Stop, located and 1520 Highway 70 in Columbiana, and Charlie’s Bait and Tackle, located at 26045 Highway 145 in Wilsonville.

Individually wrapped bags of salvia divinorum were found at both locations, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Drug paraphernalia used for smoking salvia was also recovered at Mark’s.

Mark’s Lakhani Khairunnissa, 39, of Calera, was charged with four counts of unlawful possession of chemical compounds with a bond of $10,000 each. Khairunnissa was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with a bond of $1,000.

At Charlie’s Bate and Tackle, Joseph Anthony Spano, 54, of Columbiana, was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of chemical compounds with a bond of $10,000 each.

Kathy Lynn Gore, in relation to the search, was charged with unlawful possession of a chemical compound with a bond of $10,000 each.

All three posted bond and were released the same day.

The searches were a result of complaints about the stores to the task force.

“Stores and businesses are given certain guidelines that they are to follow as it pertains to what they can sell,” said Lt. Chris George, task force commander. “The manner in which these businesses were operating violated criminal law and caused the owners to profit from this illegal activity.”

George said the task force is investigating several others businesses involved in similar activity and “will enforce this statute to its fullest extent.”

George has said for several weeks that the task force would begin cracking down on businesses selling salvia. Most recently, he repeated that statement Thursday afternoon while addressing the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce.